New year, new restaurants: 10 eateries opening in the suburbs in 2021
Restaurants weathered tough times in 2020, and ordering from old favorites became a way of supporting neighborhood eateries during the pandemic.
Still, we all crave something new. And a number of suburban restaurants plan to open their doors in 2021 to offer just that.
Here's a look at 10 new restaurants opening in the new year:
La Mula Mexican Grill
927 S. Rand Road, Lake Zurich
Anticipated opening: January
Cuisine: Expect contemporary Mexican with a twist. Taco choices, for example, include duck confit, wild mushroom, Korean beef with kimchi and a Mediterranean version with shawarma meat.
Other info: Hungry Mule owners George Diskos and Jonathan Levy are opening this new restaurant with the help of chef Dudley Nieto, who has had a hand in Adobo Grill and other respected spots. The restaurant will focus on takeout to start, with seating available when COVID-19 conditions improve.
1012 Curtiss St., Downers Grove
Anticipated opening: Mid-January
Cuisine: The new eatery will offer a modern take on Mexican street food, including tacos, tortas, salads and margaritas.
Other info: The spot is the latest from Sam Vlahos and the team behind Fuller House in Hinsdale and Pierce Tavern in Downers Grove. Bar Chido will have a taco takeout window so people can order and pick up food without coming into the restaurant.
820 W. Main St., West Dundee
Anticipated opening: End of January
Cuisine: Yes, you'll find roast beef and burgers at this fast-casual spot. But, ironically, Beefaroo is known for its cheese fries and salads. If you like the special seasoned salt they use, you can take that home, too.
Other info: The West Dundee location will be the first in the Chicago area for this Rockford-area group. It's run by siblings, whose parents started the first Beefaroo in 1967, and owned by an investment group looking to expand.
Chupacabra Puerto Rican Kitchen
31 N. Broadway, Aurora
Anticipated opening: February or March
Cuisine: Puerto Rican cuisine features lots of garlic, herbs and spices, but owner Maria Skokan says her dishes are not spicy. Among the offerings will be roasted pork, stewed chicken, red rice and a tamale made with bananas and root vegetables.
Other info: The restaurant will be the first brick-and-mortar location for Peter and Maria Skokan, who started out by catering and serving meals from their Aurora-based food truck. Online ordering, curbside pickup, delivery and outdoor seating will be available.
117 W. Slade St., Palatine
Anticipated opening: March
Cuisine: Owner Savio Lobo describes the aim of the menu as "progressive." Old favorites such as burgers will come with a twist, and there will be vegan options as well.
Other info: The restaurant/bar plans to feature live music in the storefront formerly occupied by Mac's on Slade, with additional space previously used as an office and storage.
Napolita Pizzeria & Wine Bar
1349 Shermer, Northbrook
Anticipated opening: Spring
Cuisine: Two wood-burning brick ovens from Naples will fire up Neapolitan-style pizzas with a wide range of cheeses and toppings. Favorites among customers at the Wilmette location include the Bufalina and the Marinara. The menu also includes pasta and a few entrees, including chicken piccata and veal Marsala.
Other info: This will be the 11th restaurant from the group that owns Casa Bonita in Libertyville and Pescadero in Wilmette. Indoor seating will eventually accommodate about 110 diners, with a large outdoor patio offering space for up to 150.
883 Main St., Antioch
Anticipated opening: April
Cuisine: Owner Kris Schoenberger, the proprietor of BBQ'd Productions in Third Lake and Lake Zurich, describes his plan for Station 51 as a "new brand, new concept." Diners will select dishes from six different virtual food trucks and then items will be cooked to order.
Other info: The restaurant will have a firehouse theme and gets its name in part from the stations depicted in the TV shows "Emergency" and "Chicago Fire."
Island Fin Poke
Downers Grove; exact location not yet determined
Anticipated opening: April or May
Cuisine: Island Fin offers customizable, build-your-own poke bowls created with a choice of eight proteins, more than 25 toppings, housemade sauces and specialty mix-ins.
Other info: The first location of the Hawaiian-style poke restaurant opened in Florida and there are now 10 in five states. The Downers Grove site will be Island Fin's first foray into the Midwest.
B.A.S.H. (Burger and Sushi House)
124 W. State St., Geneva
Anticipated opening: Late spring or early summer
Cuisine: The name reflects the restaurant's mix of Japanese cuisine and American comfort food, with a menu that emphasizes burgers, sushi and mac 'n' cheese.
Other info: This will be the second B.A.S.H. location. The first is in Ottawa. A large patio that opens to the inside will allow for open-air dining. Carryout also will be available.
1901 McConnor Parkway, Schaumburg
Anticipated opening: Early summer, with an Oak Brook location planned for 2022 and a possible third site later in Rosemont
Cuisine: The emphasis is on drinks and tapas, but Blue Martini also will serve fish, chicken and salads.
Other info: The Schaumburg bar will be the first Midwestern franchise for a chain with locations in Florida, Las Vegas and other places. Live music will be a focus, making it a good spot for after-dinner drinks and entertainment.